Els de Gruijter: Flying Men

series of paintings on paper

In the Baroque monastery of Plasy, a series called ‘Flying Men’ was created. In the levitating human figures, monumentally oversized, and the peculiar perspective exposed the Baroque influence of the surroundings of the location where the symposium took place.

Els de Gruijter is a Dutch visual artist, living and working in Amsterdam. She graduated from The Rietveld Academie of Arts in Amsterdam, where she got to know editor of Hitweek/Aloha Willem de Ridder. There, she became fascinated by underground art, expressed in the performances of the "total theater" of groups Paradiso and Fantasio. She participates in weekly performances and tours with the group throughout Holland, France and Spain. In 1975, she returned to painting and started to experiment with the techniques of old masters - oil painting and egg based tempera on panel and copper. Topics of her paintings are inspired by novels of E.A. Poe and H.P. Lovecraft, mostly mysterious landscapes and desolate buildings. Her interest in cultures past and in ethnographic research (influenced by her father, the painter Jan de Gruijter), and worldwide travel experiences, are visible in her paintings. She has had exhibitions in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Boston; Just Heads (1991-1993) in May of 1993 - she exhibited this work in the gallery JAP in Amsterdam as product of a two-year period of painting mask-like portraits which were the result of a stay on St. Eustache in the West Indies; Hermit Art Symposium (Summer 1993); Guardians (1993-1995). After ‘Flying Men’ she has been working on paper with the theme of abstract human figures. The ethnographic influence is noticeable here as well, reminding us of the guardians of ancient temples.

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